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employer keeps the tips Washington

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  • employer keeps the tips Washington

    I work at a restaurant in Seattle and the owner keeps 100% of the tips. I would like to know if this is illegal of not. Usually he sits behind the counter doing very little, if anything at all. I also work 9-hour shifts and am given my 30 min. break an hour and a half into my shift and am expected to work the remaining 7 hours of my shift without another break. Employees are not allowed to sit down at any point during their shift, and he has even tried to demand that we ask him directly for permission to use the bathroom. Not to mention the multitude of health code violations I witness on an hourly basis (I have seen the owner, himself, drop a spoon on the floor, pick it up and put it back in with the other "clean" spoons to be used on the food we serve).

    This isn't the half of it (or even an eighth).

  • #2
    Tips- unless the business is using "service charges" all tips go to you unless you guys are using tip pooling or tip outs.

    In WA, your meal break can't be earlier then 2 hours into your shift. You should also be getting two ten minute breaks.

    File a wage claim with the WA DoL&I. Feel free to call in the health department if he's violating the rules. If you have some evidence that your employer is skimming go ahead and call the WA DoR and the IRS tip lines. You could even get a whistleblower award. Things can get pretty nasty when sales and employment taxes are evaded.

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    • #3
      Here is a good summary fact sheet from the federal DOL re: tipped employees.
      http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs15.pdf

      I would note that the reference to "tip credit" is irrelevant here because, although federal law allows it, Washington law does not.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by joec
        I just had to delete the previous post after further review. As long as the O.P is paid the minimum wage, the only remedy is to quit and find a better paying job. However, if the employer reports tips as income attributed to the employee, then there may be an issue of fraud. I seem to remember that any employee regularly receiving tips is automatically attributed a certain additional amount of income for tax reporting purposes. The employ should check on this because he may be paying taxes on income he did not receive.
        JoeC

        I was reading a post earlier that dealt with the 'owner' of tips, employee or employer?

        http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs15.pdf

        Retention of Tips: The law forbids any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee. Where an employer does not strictly observe the tip credit provisions of the Act, no tip credit may be
        claimed and the employees are entitled to receive the full cash minimum wage, in addition to retaining tips they may\should have received.

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        • #5
          I don't know....

          I don't know if the tip credit applies in WA State, I don't think so.

          I am paid an hourly wage above both state and federal min. wage, as is everybody who works there - but if someone drinks a cup of coffee or tea, while not on break, he accuses them of stealing from him, meanwhile hes stealing from his employees.

          I also don't know who pays the taxes for the tips, he takes them but it wouldn't shock me if we were still paying the taxes on them. I don't know how to find that information out though...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by INOSH View Post
            I don't know if the tip credit applies in WA State, I don't think so.

            I am paid an hourly wage above both state and federal min. wage, as is everybody who works there - but if someone drinks a cup of coffee or tea, while not on break, he accuses them of stealing from him, meanwhile hes stealing from his employees.

            I also don't know who pays the taxes for the tips, he takes them but it wouldn't shock me if we were still paying the taxes on them. I don't know how to find that information out though...
            If you read all the posts in this thread, you could see where I already stated that Washington state does not allow tip credit.

            What you do is you check your paystub. What is shown as tips vs. what you actually took home as tips (assuming your credit card tips are cashed out daily). If the number on the pay stub is higher than the dollars in tips you took home, then you are paying taxes on tips you didn't get.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by joec
              Patty I thought tip credits was for form 8027 which is designed to determine the percentage of tips on credit card sales compared to the tips on other sales. Buissnesses are expected to report cash tips within 2% of the charged tips. Even in Wa state where tips can not be applied to wages.
              Isnt the owner still required to file the form 8027?
              JoeC
              I read the instructions for form 8027, it seems to imply it is voluntary and not required.

              Further you say in a previous post check for the tips you received. The OP already stated the owner keeps ALL THE TIPS, 100%.

              The owner is stealing their tips imo. Of course they will likely need to take civil action and I am not sure where it begins or ends. I say contact the labor commission and see if someone there will assist. If not your only recourse may be to sue him which is probably impossible since you don't get tips you prolly can't afford it.

              I highly doubt the customers know the tips are going to the owner. It is not a service charge or a fee, it is a tip. Remember there can be NO agreement where the employer keeps any of the employees tips. Tip credit doesn't apply as there is none in Wa. as has been stated. He cannot take tip credit as there in none to take.

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              • #8
                Tip credit has nothing to do with allocated tips, which are not voluntary.

                Certain establishments, based on their gross revenue from food and beverage sales, have to determine if the directly tipped employees have claimed "enough" tips during the year. That is currently set by the IRS as 8% of the food and beverage sales "allocated" to the employee, based on the percentage of time worked to the total time worked by all directly tipped employees.

                So, let's say the gross revenue from food and beverage sales is $100,000.
                10 directly tipped employees worked 1,000 hours each during the year, so each employee worked 10% of the total hours worked by all. 8% of $100,000 is $8,000. 10% of $8,000 is $800. So, any directly tipped employee who did NOT claim at least $800 in tips would have the difference shown as allocated tips on his/her W-2.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  As far as your breaks, by Washington state law you can not go longer then 5 hours with out a break.

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                  • #10
                    And just to clarify, the only way an employer who is otherwise required to do the allocation tips calculation can "get out of it", is to have already entered into a voluntary agreement with the IRS regarding tip reporting.
                    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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